WHITEHORSE – Over the last two months, the Official Opposition has highlighted that the Liberal government’s approach to regulating and managing cannabis through Bill 15: Cannabis Control and Regulation Act will grow government while increasing the costs to taxpayers.
The Official Opposition has proposed an alternative approach for the regulation and control of cannabis that limits the growth of the territorial government while creating opportunities for the private sector. This model would have been similar to the Saskatchewan model. To achieve this goal, the Official Opposition provided its rationale and proposed constructive amendments to remove sections of the legislation that create a new cannabis corporation and government-run retail store.
“We believe that the local private sector can deliver this service just as safely as government and at a cheaper cost to taxpayers,” said Brad Cathers, Official Opposition Finance Critic. “Government should be focused on creating opportunities for the private sector and enforcing strict rules to protect health and safety – not on growing the size of government. Further, we believe that the government’s approach of not allowing for retail stores in rural Yukon will only insulate the black market in our communities.”
Unfortunately, the Government did not agree with these amendments, so the Official Opposition reluctantly voted against the Bill at Third Reading.
“We were hopeful that we could convince the government to rethink their approach and implement a private sector retail model,” added Cathers. “We support most of the legislation, and had the Liberal government accepted our constructive amendments, we would have voted for it.”
Now that Bill 15 has been voted on, the Official Opposition will hold the government to account by monitoring the costs to the taxpayer and pressing them to live up to their commitment to eventually end government-run retail.